Meet The Staff

MEET THE STAFF

Administration

Jay E. Darr, Ph.D., NCC, LPC, BC-TMH, PMP - Director

Jay E. Darr, Ph.D., NCC, LPC, BC-TMH, PMP, pronouns: he, him, his, is humbled by the opportunity to serve as the Director of the University Counseling Center. Dr. Darr earned his doctorate in Executive Counseling Education and Supervision, with a specialization in Crisis Intervention and Management and M.S. Ed in School Counseling from Duquesne University. His undergraduate and initial graduate work in Sociology, with an Applied Social Research focus was completed at West Virginia University. Dr. Darr’s passion is to assist students with becoming aware of their strengths, with the goal of using this awareness as a tool to find healthy solutions to life challenges. Dr. Darr’s professional interests include crisis intervention and management, identity development, sports counseling/psychology, Veteran concerns, stress reduction, racial/transgenerational trauma, supervision and training, addictive and substance concerns. He enjoys spending time with his family, participating in outdoor activities, and is an avid Marvel Universe and sports fan.

Ahmed Ghuman, PsyD, MBA, LPC - Associate Director-Strategic Programs & Services

Ahmed Ghuman is a Clinical Psychologist who serves as the Associate Director of Strategic Programs and Services at the University Counseling Center at University of Pittsburgh (Pitt). Ahmed earned a PsyD in clinical psychology from Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. He also holds an MBA in general business administration from La Salle University. In his clinical work, Ahmed utilizes an integrative approach of humanistic and cognitive behavioral therapy. Additionally, he specializes in positive psychology and uses a strengths-based approach rooted in positive psychotherapy with his clients. His areas of interest include self-esteem, happiness, motivation, resilience, meaning and purpose, religious and spiritual identity, and multicultural concerns. Moreover, Ahmed helps lead the Multicultural Care Team at Pitt’s University Counseling Center. Additionally, he is a member of the Student Affairs Diversity Equity, & Inclusion Committee, serves on the Professional Advisory Board for the Office of Interfaith Dialogue and Engagement, and is the President of the Muslim Affinity Group at Pitt. Lastly, Ahmed serves as the Co-Chair for the Diversity & Inclusion Committee for the American College Counseling Association.

Ashlee Wolfgang, PsyD - Associate Director-Clinical Services

Ashlee received her BA in Psychology from Hiram College. She earned an MA in Mental Health Counseling from Bowling Green State University and a PsyD in Counseling Psychology from Carlow University. She completed her doctoral internship at The Ohio State University and her postdoctoral fellowship at Carnegie Mellon University. Ashlee’s professional interests include working with survivors of sexual violence and trauma, concerns that disproportionately affect women, identity development and self-esteem, relationship and family of origin concerns, and the unique experiences of first-generation college students and students from low-income and economically marginalized backgrounds. Ashlee’s style of therapy is integrative and client-centered, including elements of interpersonal process, psychodynamic, and cognitive-behavioral theories within a sociocultural and feminist framework. Ashlee especially enjoys the privilege of helping college students navigate major life transitions and understand the impact of their intersecting identities and lived experiences.

Sean Moundas, Ph.D. - Assistant Director-Doctoral Psychology Training

Sean earned his psychology degree in New York City and is a licensed psychologist. He has practiced in college mental health for over a decade, and enjoys working with undergraduate and graduate students, as he enjoys helping people navigate a time period when many new experiences occur including identity exploration. Sean is a generalist clinician with the following areas of interest: working with students from underrepresented groups; as well as students experiencing grief and loss. His approach to counseling is student-centered, solution-focused, strengths- based, and involves acceptance and commitment. When outside of the University Counseling Center, Sean enjoys seeing live music, volunteering time with helping animals, and trying new vegan food.

Bernadette Smith, LPC - Assistant Director-Outreach

Bernadette is a licensed professional counselor with nearly 10 years of experience in a variety of mental health settings. She enjoys working with students individually and in therapy groups with a variety of concerns, including anxiety, depression, self-esteem, interpersonal relationships, and substance use. Bernadette strives to create a safe and collaborative relationship with students, allowing them to increase self-awareness, find effective solutions and build fulfilling lives. In her free time, Bernadette enjoys dancing, watching football and spending time with loved ones.

Camille Velazquez - Assistant Director-Clinical Services

Bio coming soon!

Karen Wagner - Assistant to the Director

Bio coming soon!

 

Administrative Support

Carol Thompson - Administrative Assistant

Carol has worked at Pitt for 9 years and is grateful for the many opportunities she had along the way. Carol enjoys working in a university setting and having daily contact with students.

Nicole Kwolek - Administrative Assistant

As a homegrown Pittsburgher, Nikki feels a close connection to Pitt’s campus, students and the city itself. As your first point of contact at the UCC, Nikki enjoys helping students connect with the resources and services they need. Nikki is a lover of dancing, coffee and all things glitter!

Tashea Rawlings - Administrative Assistant

Bio coming soon! 

 

Clinical Staff

Heather Arment, LCSW - Lead Clinician - Practicum & Masters Trainees

Heather received her Bachelor in Psychology degree and Masters of Social Work degree from the University of Pittsburgh. Her clinical areas of interest are interpersonal relationships; grief and loss; anxiety; depression. Grounded in social work theory, Heather begins by meeting each client where they are currently at and identifying strengths and the barriers that may prevent goal attainment. She barrows from various evidence-based theories and strives to assist clients in finding solutions that help them live their very best lives. She enjoys working with college-aged clients due to their openness to change and willingness to invest in learning more about themselves.

Lindsay Brunswick, LPC - Clinician

Bio coming soon!

Jay Deiters, Ph.D. - Clinician

Jay is a licensed psychologist who completed his Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of North Texas and he completed his Ph.D. in Sport and Exercise Science with an area of emphasis in Social Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity from the University of Northern Colorado. His clinical interests include sport and performance psychology, depression, anxiety, interpersonal relationships, men’s issues, grief/loss, life transitions, career/academic concerns, mindfulness, and stress management. Jay’s approach to therapy is integrative, with an approach focusing on creating a safe, collaborative, and supportive setting and incorporating humanistic, emotion-focused, interpersonal, and cognitive-behavioral techniques. In his free time, Jay enjoys exercising, traveling and exploring Pittsburgh.

Lori Drost, LSW - Clinician

Lori is a proud Pitt alum who earned both her Bachelor in Psychology and Master of Social Work from the University of Pittsburgh. Lori’s clinical interests include LGBTQIA+, anxiety, depression, transitions and interpersonal. Lori has a wide range of theoretical approaches, including CBT, DBT, Motivational Interviewing and compassion-focused. College is an exciting and stressful time, full of growth, changes and transition; Lori finds it rewarding to help individuals realize their potential and navigate the stressors of this stage of life.

Kaitlyn Emile, LPC - Embedded Clinician

Kaitlyn graduated with a Master of Science in Counseling Psychology from Chatham University and is a licensed professional counselor and licensed behavior specialist. She has experience working with children, families, and students. Kaitlyn enjoys working with students with behavioral concerns and people who are survivors of sexual violence. Kaitlyn practices counseling with a person centered, trauma informed, cognitive behavioral approach. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends and family.

Adam Gregory - Embedded Clinician

Bio coming soon!

Veronica Jones - Embedded Clinician

Bio coming soon!

Brittany Jordan - Clinician

Bio coming soon!

Bernadette (Bernie) Latuch, PsyD - Clinician

Bio coming soon!

Cassandra Long, LSW - Lead Clinician - Wellness & Resilience Course

Cassandra received her Master of Social Work (MSW) degree, with a concentration in mental health, from the University of Pittsburgh. She is interested in working with students who are experiencing interpersonal or relationship concerns, difficulty with transitioning, anxiety, depression and managing themselves among all the opportunities and distractions. Cassandra finds university students to be incredibly energetic and enthusiastic, and she is continually impressed with their accomplishments and their success in developing new abilities, as well as their capacity to embrace and adapt to new situations. She wants to encourage students to enable their passion and ingenuity while helping them make decisions about their future.

Anna Shaw, MSW, LSW - Clinician

Bio coming soon!

Mihnea Vasilescu, LCSW, MA - Lead Clinician - TAO

Mihnea joined the counseling center in 2014, initially as an intern. He received his Master’s in Social Work (MSW), with a concentration in mental health, from the University of Pittsburgh in 2015. His earlier education includes an MA in Cultural Anthropology, from the University of Pittsburgh, and a BA with a major in Sociology, from the University of Bucharest. Mihnea strongly believes in the inherent and unconditional worthiness of all human beings and his approach to therapy is informed by humanistic, strength-based, multicultural, and feminist perspectives. Mihnea’s top values are compassion, justice, authenticity, and integrity. He enjoys engaging in mindfulness practice and contemplation, loves being in nature or socializing, and strives to bring about changes in his immediate environment. He especially appreciates the curiosity, openness to new experiences and perspectives, and the search for meaning of university students.

Michele Welker, LCSW - Clinician/SHARE Program Coordinator

Michele received a Master’s in Social Work with a focus in Women’s Studies from The Ohio State University and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Women’s Studies from Ohio University. She holds clinical licensure in both Pennsylvania and Ohio. She has worked in community mental health, including domestic violence shelters and rape crisis centers, since the late 90’s. Her clinical work concentrates on offering person-centered, humanistic trauma-informed care. Michele can offer varying therapeutic techniques and methods, but believes the critical place of change comes from the relationship itself. In her spare time, Michele enjoys walking/hiking with her rescue pup and reading.

Jay Wiggin, LSW - Embedded Clinician

Bio coming soon!

Danielle Williams, LCSW - Clinician

Bio coming soon!

Nicholas Yee, LMFT - Embedded Clinician

Nick graduated with a Master of Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Southern California. His passion for using the practice of therapy to help others has been fulfilled through work in rehabilitation centers, hospitals, and schools. His areas of interest include emerging and young adulthood, grief and loss, addiction and recovery, and relationship issues. Nick seeks to understand the unique experience of each individual through exploring concepts such as responsibility, values, and meaning. In his spare time, Nick enjoys playing hockey.

Veronica Zhang, LCSW - Clinician

Bio coming soon!

 

Current Trainees

Sonia Bajwa, MSW - Doctoral Intern

Sonia earned her Master of Social Work degree from the University of Pittsburgh in 2009 and is currently a fifth year doctoral candidate in Counseling Psychology. She is excited to be back at the University of Pittsburgh as a doctoral intern for the 2021-2022 academic year. Sonia’s professional areas of interest include identity, community, diversity, equity, intersectionality, and inclusion of individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds. Her approach to therapy is informed by psychodynamic, existential, humanistic, and relational approaches and the integration of skills obtained through Acceptance and Commitment, Dialectical Behavioral, and Expressive Art Therapies. Sonia enjoys working with college students because she believes it is a busy time in personal development and appreciates the opportunity to be present with them during this time.

Mary Kate Deacon, M.A. - Doctoral Intern

Mary Kate is a fifth-year Doctoral candidate at La Salle University’s Psy.D. Program in Clinical Psychology. During her doctoral training, Mary Kate has gained experience providing individual therapy and group therapy in a partial hospitalization setting, college counseling center, and at an Anxiety and OCD specialty clinic. Mary Kate is passionate about working with young adults struggling with anxiety and depressive disorders, eating disorders/body image issues, and trauma. She feels privileged to guide students in navigating stressful life events, developing their identities, discovering their purpose, and building fulfilling lives. Mary Kate’s approach to therapy is rooted in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and incorporates elements of interpersonal process and relational theories. She takes a collaborative and strengths-based approach to treatment and aims to tailor therapy interventions to the individualized needs of the client. In her free time, Mary Kate enjoys figure skating, skiing, biking, and traveling.

Julie Englert, M.A. - Psychology Practicum Trainee

Julie is a third-year counseling psychology doctoral student at Chatham University's PsyD program. She earned her M.A. in Psychology at Chatham University and her B.A. in Media Communications from the University of Pittsburgh. Julie's areas of clinical interest include trauma, emerging adulthood, identity development, gender identity, major life transitions, mood difficulties, interpersonal relationships, and sexual health. She utilizes an integrative, client-centered, and strengths-based approach, including elements from psychodynamic and interpersonal psychotherapy. Julie encourages clients to come as they are and meets them at whatever stage they are in. She believes in a collaborative process, exploring and finding solutions that fit each client for their individual needs and comfort. Julie enjoys hiking, singing, playing guitar, and nature photography.

Hannah Esmacher, B.S. - Psychology Practicum Trainee

Hannah is entering her second year of doctoral training in Chatham University's PsyD in Counseling Psychology program.  She completed her B.S. in Psychology at Virginia Tech in 2017, and her M.A. in Psychology at Chatham in 2020.  Professionally, her areas of interest include identity development, life stage transitions, multiculturalism and intergroup dialogue, gender and sexuality, family systems, substance use, and perfectionism.  Hannah utilizes a humanistic, strengths-based style of therapy that aims to understand each client within their unique context to facilitate personally meaningful change.  Her practice integrates elements of cognitive-behavioral, family systems, and solution-focused therapies.  In her free time, Hannah is a voracious reader who loves backpacking through wild areas and is always ready to try out exciting new recipes.

Sarah Fox, M.A. - Doctoral Intern

Sarah is in her final year of her clinical psychology PsyD program at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She has experience working in rural and urban university counseling centers, outpatient forensic psychology, and inpatient behavioral health. Her areas of clinical interest include interpersonal relationships, mood issues, identity issues, trauma, and group therapy. Sarah’s approach to therapy is integrative and combines components of psychodynamic, relational, and social justice approaches. She enjoys connecting and working collaboratively with clients in order to help them reach the goals most important to them. In her free time, Sarah enjoys spending time with her dog, cooking, backpacking, and reading.

Kayla Jurchak, B.S. - Social Work Intern

Kayla received bachelor’s in psychology with a minor in Environmental Policy from Clarkson University. She is currently pursuing her Master of Social Work degree here at the University of Pittsburgh. Her clinical areas of interest are personal connections, crisis stabilization, grief and loss, trauma informed approaches, anxiety, and depression. Kayla’s approach to counseling involves a strengths-based approach with consideration to systems and holistic practices. In her free time, Kayla is an avid outdoor enthusiast and loves to hike, snowboard, backpack, paddleboard, and adventure with her rescue dog.

Peyton Kondis, B.S. - Clinical Counseling Intern

Peyton is currently working towards a master’s degree in Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling at the University of Pittsburgh. Her previous field placement was at the University of Pittsburgh’s Wellness Pavilion located in the Homewood Community Engagement Center, where she collaborated with preexisting community organizations and focused on psychoeducational programs targeted at the teenage demographic. Peyton’s areas of interest include trauma, identity development, interpersonal concerns, and psychoeducation. She utilizes an integrative approach firmly rooted in the Humanistic principles of unconditional positive regard, empathy, and congruence. In her spare time, Peyton enjoys coaching at her old swim team, exploring new music and tv shows, and visiting her puppies and family at home.

Christopher Maddox, M.Ed. NCC - Psychology Practicum Trainee

Christopher Maddox is a nationally certified counselor pursuing a Psy.D. in Counseling Psychology at Chatham University. He has an M.Ed. in School Counseling and a BS in Community Health. His areas of interest include emerging adulthood,  anxiety, depression, identity development, and internet gaming disorder. Chris utilizes an integrative approach to counseling that is influenced by humanistic, cognitive behavioral and solution-focused brief therapy. He believes clients are the experts in their lives and his role as a therapist is to provide a space where clients can practice new skills and engage in self-exploration. In his free time, Chris enjoys listening to audiobooks, playing videogames, and hiking.

Dani Soltis, MEd - Doctoral Intern

Dani has master's degrees in Clinical and Counseling Psychology and is currently completing their PhD at the University of Houston. Dani's clinical and research work revolves around the needs of the LGBTQIA+ community, particularly with those who identify as queer, trans, or non-binary. They have developed a niche in addressing the specific needs of transgender and non-binary clients/patients from their healthcare providers and have taught gender affirming care to those in the helping fields across the country. Dani's other areas of interest include working with the non-religious, combating size stigma/fatphobia, engaging in identity/gender exploration, and the developing of psychological flexibility. Dani's approach to counseling is often informed by Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) along with Feminist/Multicultural paradigms. They also pull from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) ,interpersonal therapy, and humanistic practices. Dani is a devoted cat parent and can often keep their houseplant collection alive. They enjoy listening to true crime podcasts, occasionally building a PC, and finding the perfect recipe for a weekend dinner.

Tara Taheri, MS - Clinical Counseling Intern
Clare Welsh, BA, MFA - Social Work Intern

Clare has an MFA from the University of New Orleans, a BA from IUP, and is a second-year student in the University of Pittsburgh MSW program.  She enjoys working with students on topics such as body image, substance use, trauma, interpersonal relationships, gender identity, and sexuality. She is interested in how personal and communal identities shape mental health. Her therapeutic approach is rooted in values of harm reduction, anti-racism, and trans liberation, and guided by Audre Lorde’s wisdom that “our feelings are our most genuine paths to knowledge.”  In her free time, Clare enjoys writing about mental health topics, traveling, playing Skyrim, and making music.